Americans receiving Social Security benefits in 2018 are expected to receive the program’s largest payment increase in years. The trustees of the program met last week and made the decision to increase benefits 2.2 percent or an average of $28 per month for recipients effective January 2018.Social Security is the only income for many seniors Recipients of Social Security mainly Americans over 65 years of age have been pushing for increase in benefits for the past five years. For several seniors, including residents in South Florida’s Caribbean community Social Security monthly benefits are their sole source of income. However, for the past several years the trustees of the program didn’t raise the rates as the national cost of index did not justify an increase. The COL index is the primary barometer the trustees use as a gauge with which to calculate increase in benefits.Last year the Social Security Administration increased benefits by a mere 0.3% increase. The increase did not reach beneficiaries monthly checks as it was used to offset the increase in the cost of their monthly Medicare benefits.The average monthly payment for the program’s 61 million beneficiaries is $1,253.Problems could be ahead for SSDespite the positive news for beneficiaries the trustees caution there could be pending problems with the Social Security program. These problems could see the funds from which benefits are paid be depleted.The trustees said the longer Congress waits to address the problems, the harder it will be to sustain Social Security and Medicare without significant cuts in benefits, big tax increases or both.Social Security is independently funded by payroll taxes, and not subject to annual spending bills approved by Congress. The American Association for Retired People (AARP) wants it to remain so.“Social Security should remain separate from the federal budget. Medicare can improve if we reduce the overall cost of healthcare ….. and if we lower prescription costs, instead of giving tax breaks to drug and insurance companies,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins.Over the past decade, Social Security and Medicare made up about 40 percent of federal spending. That share is projected to grow in the future, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.Copyright 2017 – Caribbean National Weekly News
Jamaicans home and abroad have been taking to Twitter to express their displeasure with US President Donald Trump pulling Jamaican iconic sprinter Usain Bolt into the controversy about National Football League athletes kneeling when the US National Anthem is played.Trump hails BoltOn Tuesday evening as the president continued to be criticized for referring to NFL players who protest racial injustices in America by kneeling when the anthem is played as “Son-of-a- bitches” hailed Usain Bolt in a tweet for respecting the US national anthem.Posts videoTrump posted a video on Twitter of the Jamaican Olympic gold medalist being interviewed on TV in 2012. During the interview Bolt stopped the interview while the anthem being played over the stadium PA system and then stands quietly as the music is heard. In the video Bolt is also seen pointing towards one end of the stadium, saying “national anthem,” and stood erect.Attached to the video Trump tweeted, “Even Usain Bolt from Jamaica, one of the greatest runners and athletes of all time, showed RESPECT for our National Anthem!”Trump made his caustic criticism of NFL players who knelt when the national was being played at a rally in Alabama last Friday. His comments created a strong backlash from NFL players and owners, and a large percentage of the American public. However, Trump maintained the players who refused to stand when the anthem was being played were disrespectful of the nation’s flag, anthem and military servicemen men and women.Reactionary tweetsSome of the tweets against Trump making reference to Bolt read:“Yow! Leave Bolt ought of your crazy fight with NFL. He always stands for the black in the Jamaican flag.”“Jamaica nuh business in a you political fight DT. Don’t pull Usain into America politricks.”“Bolt wouldn’t stand up for US anthem if you call him a son-of-a bitch like you did the NFL players Trump.”“Bolt should sue Trump for illegally using his image fi suit Trump foolish politics.”There have been no reports if Bolt responded to the president’s tweet.
Eric Williams Lecture: Scathing exposé on America’s racism To a crowd of almost 200 that attended the 19th Annual Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture on October 13, 2017, UCLA Distinguished Professor of Education Dr. Pedro Noguera delivered a scathing exposé of the history of the inequity of race in America, and the recent climate fostering its expansion under President Donald Trump’s chaotic and unpredictable administration.The clear and present danger“Do Black Lives Matter in the Age of Trump”, co-sponsored by the African & African Diaspora Studies Program at FIU, generally focused on the clear and present danger of “government approved” neo-Nazism, the overt resurgence of the Ku Klax Klan, and the unacceptable and disproportionately negative impact on black populations in the US vis a vis education; civil rights; chronic unemployment; concentrated poverty; inadequate access to healthcare, nutrition and clean water; and mass incarceration.Eric Williams groundbreaking scholarship on slaveryThroughout the Lecture, Noguera skillfully wove Eric Williams’ own groundbreaking scholarship on slavery, his insistence on and description of what he considered to be genuine participatory democracy, with the current effect of the Trump Administration on the welfare of black people.Offered striking examplesNot content simply to detail the myriad problems besetting the subject, the noted sociologist offered striking examples of children of color, of all ethnicities, actively being engaged in achievement-based school curricula, with a heavy emphasis on the relationship between student and teacher and on community, courtesy and conduct.Most of these are from single-parent backgrounds, often living in the most disadvantaged of neighborhoods, but with a mere $11,000 a year spent to send a child to public school, compared to the $235,000 estimated annually to jail that child, schools with struggling students must do more than simply label them as troublesome, expect them to conform and adjust or be kicked out if they don’t.They must be organized to meet the actual needs of the students they serve.Agents of changeNoguera urged the many students in the audience to be the agents of the change they want to see, to get involved in society and to resist the latest blatant attempt to stifle dissent, whether it be taking the kneel for the US flag or some other form of non-violent protest. He might well have been referring to the “meme”: “8 million Jehovah’s Witness don’t salute the flag. 200,000 Amish don’t stand for the national anthem. ONE black man kneels respectfully and all hell breaks loose. Now you know why he’s kneeling.”Established in 1999, FIU’s annual Eric Williams Lecture honors the distinguished Caribbean statesman, consummate academic, internationally renowned historian, and author of several books.His 1944 groundbreaking study Capitalism and Slavery, popularly referred to as The Williams Thesis, arguably reframed the historiography of the British trans-Atlantic slave trade (and its concomitant European incarnations) and established the contribution of Caribbean slavery to the development of both Britain and America. The book has been translated into nine languages, including Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish and Korean. It continues to inform today’s ongoing debate and remains “years ahead of its time…this profound critique is still the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development,” according to the New York Times.Eric E. Williams was also the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and Head of Government for a quarter of a century until his death in 1981. He led the country to Independence from Britain in 1962 and onto Republicanism in 1976.For a report on a previous Eric Williams Lecture, visit the link: Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines arrives in Miami to speak at Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture
Photo Courtesy of Jamaica Football Federation Twelve Caribbean soccer teams will be in action on the opening day of the CONCACAF Under -20 Championship in Florida on Thursday, Nov 1. Trinidad and Tobago who have participated in two U-20 FIFA World Cup tournaments, will open Group “A” action against St Vincent and the Grenadines at the IMG Academy in Florida. In other matches on the day, Suriname will take on debutants the US Virgin Islands, the defending champions the United States will face Puerto Rico, while Cuba will meet Belize. Antigua and Barbuda who are playing in their second straight CONCACAF U-20 Championship, will play St Maarten, Honduras will battle with the Dominican Republic and St Lucia will play Haiti. The U-20 Jamaican Reggae Boyz will get into action on Friday when they take on Grenada. In the group stages Jamaica will also face Aruba, Nicaragua, St Martin and Mexico. The top team from each group will advance to the qualification stage of the competition. The top four from there will qualify for the U-20 FIFA World Cup in Poland next year. Jamaica’s onlyUu-20 FIFA World Cup participation came in 2001 in Argentina.
As each year closes, people tend to repeat the same words, “Where did the time go so fast?” But, for some reason 2018 seem to have zipped by with unusual speed.The year is leaving with hopes fulfilled for some, and disappointments, and perhaps pain, for others. But, for America as a whole, the days approaching the end of 2018, are not much different, and probably worse, than when the year started. Unfortunate divisionsThe year is ending with the unfortunate divisions, mostly bred by politics, that has engulfed the nation in recent years. It just seems impossible for people of opposing ideologies and political views to come to any compromise on crucial policies that affects the nation in generally.For some its extremely depressing and frustrating to be privy to the relentless news of discord among the nation’s leaders, especially the discord in arriving at consensus on how to protect the nation borders.It cannot be disputed that it’s vitally important to protect the nation borders from infiltration by illegal immigrants. But it is questionable if the solution is to spend billions of dollars building walls and barriers along the borders to prevent people from crossing illegally, or using part of the billions to stem the flow of immigrants fleeing poor countries. People from Central American countries like El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, the Caribbean, Latin American and other nations continue to attempt to come to America, although most are aware of the country’s anti-immigration policies.Illegal immigrants fleeing economic conditionsIllegal immigrants keep coming to America, not just because they are fleeing crime, and gang violence in their home countries, but primarily because of prevailing depressing social and economic conditions.There are those who believe US should initiate a Latin, Central America and Caribbean Economic Plan similar to the European Recovery Program, otherwise known as the Marshall Plan that aided economic development in Europe after World War II. They believe this would alleviate the track of illegal immigrants to America.. Economic challenges continue to blight countries in the Latin, Central America and Caribbean region. The challenges seem worse in Central America resulting in serious unemployment, lack of opportunity for the youth, and the very serious problem of gang violence.US aid could generate economic turn aroundCertainly, a well-managed economic plan by the US to provide aid to these countries could generate an economic turnaround, provide economic hope and benefits for the people of the region, and stem the flow of illegal migrants leaving for America. In fact, the new president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has proposed such a plan to US President Donald Trump. Obrador’s plan calls for the US to provide $30 billion over five years in job-creating economic development assistance to Central America. People driven by desperationIt is doubtful even if the US succeeds in building a massive wall along its southern border this will stop the flow of illegal immigrants. The people fleeing their lands hoping for a better life are driven by desperation and will try to find every means of by-passing this wall. Instead of engaging in seemingly harsh policies of using military might against these people, and placing young children in detention centers, much more could be achieved by initiating measures that make it better for these people to remain in their home countries.America has and continues to be the big, rich brother of the Western Hemisphere. For the other countries in the Hemisphere there is no shortage of news of the wealth and economic opportunities that’s in America. There are pragmatic ways in which America can help these countries to improve themselves economically, and benefit from America’s wealth, without their people seeking to come to America on an illegal basis.It does seem that the best solution to America’s illegal immigration problem is to provide the means to improve the economic base of these countries. Hundreds of miles of wall won’t deterIf the countries of Latin, Central America and the Caribbean continue to experience severe economic challenges hundreds of miles of existing barriers or a wall at the border will not really stop illegal immigration. The most effective long-term solution may be to tackle the illegal immigration problem at the source in other countries in the Western Hemisphere. As 2019 approaches it is hoped the US president and the US Congress will give serious consideration to study and evaluate plans for a Latin, Central American and Caribbean Economic Plan which could go a long way to alleviating the nation’s illegal immigration problem. Many believe such a plan will involve more sensible spending of money than building an expensive border wall.
MIAMI, Florida – Homestead residents who enjoy art and who love giving back to local schools can do both at the 2nd Annual ArtWalk Homestead on Sunday, December 8, 2019.The event, hosted by Homestead Councilwoman Jenifer N. Bailey, is an art festival showcasing county-wide artists from various mediums, fostering the love of art, and highlighting the beautiful city.Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery located at 30205 SW 217th Ave, Homestead, FL will host the day of excitement from 10 am to 6 pm. Artwalk Homestead will feature live music & performances, a DJ, food trucks, vendors, games, pop-up art gallery, wine tastings live painting, pottery, face painting, a giant bubble station, interactive art stations and more. Children and youth can enjoy chalk easel art drawing, painting by numbers, sand art, canvas art stations, and DIY jewelry art.ArtWalk Homestead was born out of the passion of its creators to cultivate an atmosphere to converge art, community and great food all while giving back to the communities in which they serve.The purpose of Artwalk Homestead is to raise funds for the annual community event, Art Walk Homestead’s Art in the Park, which takes place in May of each year.Art Walk Homestead’s Art in the Park brings various community-based organizations to residents of Homestead during a free fun-filled day of art, music, and games. The event provides residents with access to community services such as The Children’s Trust, The Early Learning Coalition, and FarmShare to name a few.The event is also a vehicle to generate funds to support non-profit organizations serving the residents of Homestead and the surrounding community. All the profits from Artwalk Homestead are donated to local non-profit organizations. This year proceeds will be donated to four local schools, five performing arts programs and two local artistsThe festival seeks to use art as an economic and cultural generator for Homestead, fundraise for schools, and provide resources to support parents throughout the school year.
The major leagues across Europe went on a two-week break due to the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Action returns starting from Friday and Dami Ugbane does a preview of the key games across England, Germany, Italy and France.ENGLANDLiverpool and Manchester United set the stage for the Premier League weekend action on matchday 8. Jurgen Klopp has a better head-head record against Jose Mourinho and will aim to take advantage of that trend in spite of the injury enforced absence of Sadio Mane. Romelu Lukaku is in terrific form for Manchester United, netting for Belgium midweek, but international compatriot Marouane Fellaini misses out on this. Games between the pair over the past couple of seasons have defied the form guide, and considering the game is being played at Anfield, we expect Liverpool to get something from the tie, because they will never walk alone.Crystal Palace hosts an injury ravaged Chelsea team who are missing key personnel through injury. N’Golo Kante suffered a hamstring injury over the weekend, which is set to see the French international side-lined over the next couple of weeks. Added to the absence of Alvaro Morata in attack, Chelsea do not appear to be at their very best, but should expectedly preserve their perfect away record against a team who are scoreless, winless and pointless.GERMANYJupp Heynckes makes yet another return to Bayern Munich in interim capacity. The experienced German manager whose last season at the Bavarian giants ended in a treble triumph will look to kick-start the champions’ season against Freiburg. Javier Martinez could become one of the major beneficiaries of Heynckes short stint in-charge of Bayern, while James Rodriguez has been promised all the support he requires to succeed by the new gaffer. With Carlo Ancelotti shown the exit door, Freiburg shouldn’t be much of a problem for a team oozing class in every department.League leaders Borussia Dortmund are home to last season’s surprise package RB Leipzig. The visitors are in fourth-place but have found life difficult in their second topflight season, failing to measure up to last terms standard. Dortmund have scored goals for fun in the Bundesliga this season and we shouldn’t expect anything asides a comprehensive home win, though the away side could chip in with a goal of theirs.ITALY Champions Juventus are home to Lazio in a repeat of the Italian Super Cup which saw the Rome-based team emerge victorious two months ago. Juventus haven’t been as clinical and fearsome as in recent seasons, hence their second-place position. Paulo Dybala should be available for Juventus following his international involvement with Argentina and will obviously be decisive, likewise Ciro Immobile of Lazio who could attempt to spoil the fun for Massimiliano Allegri’s team.Roma takes on Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night in a game which promises to produce lots of goals. League leaders Napoli have clearly been the best team in the division this season, aided by the goals and magical performances of Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne, they should provide a stiff challenge to a Roma side that have blown hot-and-cold this season.The first Milan derby of the season takes place on Sunday between Inter Milan and AC Milan. Third-place Inter Milan appears to be in better form ahead of this clash with an inconsistent seventh-place AC Milan who have struggled for results despite their heavy summer recruitment. Luciano Spalletti has revived the fortunes of Inter Milan and they should be no stopping the Nerazzurri from bagging maximum points against the Rossoneri in this historically fierce derby.FRANCELyon and Monaco kickoff Ligue 1 action on Friday night at the Stade de Lyon. Both teams are separated by six points, with second-place Monaco having a better season in comparism to eight-place Lyon who at some point were league leaders but have dropped off the radar. Coach Leonardo Jardim must decide if he is to hand Radamel Falcao a start following the Colombians long travels from South America. Stefan Jovetic was injured on international duty with Montenegro, thus opening the door for the underutilised Keita Balde to make the lineup.RelatedEuropean League Preview: Old Trafford, San Siro come alive this weekendOctober 27, 2017In “England”European League Preview: London Derby Headlines Premier League Fixtures, PSG For 5-Star VictorySeptember 15, 2017In “Europe”European League Preview: Anfield Lit For Arsenal Sunday Visit, Dominant PSG Host Top Of The Table ClashAugust 25, 2017In “Europe”
On Friday evening, Cristiano Ronaldo and girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez announced the name of their unborn daughter.Ronaldo took to a live stream on Instagram to make the announcement to his 113million followers. The Real Madrid star however deleted the video not long after. “The name of my daughter will be Alana Martina. I just wanted to share this with you. I think it is a beautiful name.” The Portuguese forward said. “I chose the first name and Gio the second.” Georgina Rodriguez mentioned that the baby is due in 25 days. Alana Martina will be the couple’s first child together. It was confirmed in July that Rodriguez was pregnant, after months of speculation. In 2010, Ronaldo had his first child, Cristiano Jr with a mystery woman and welcomed twins Eva Maria and Mateo via a surrogate mother in June.Related
2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers (African section)Group A: Guinea, Chad, Cameroon and Tunisia.Group B: Mali, Uganda, Rwanda and NIGERIA.Group C: Angola, DR Congo, Egypt and Morocco.Group D: Senegal, Mozambique, Ivory Coast and Central African Republic.RelatedFIBA African Qualifiers: D’Tigers Drawn With Senegal, Ivory Coast And Others In Second RoundJuly 5, 2018In “Africa”Lagos Picked As Host For FIBA World Cup QualifiersJuly 22, 2018In “BasketBall”2019 FIBA World Cup Draws: D’Tigers To Face Argentina or Canada Group StageMarch 15, 2019In “BasketBall” The Republic of Chad have been confirmed as replacement for South Africa after their men basketball team withdrew from Group A of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers (African section).After taking South Africa’s spot, Chad will now do battle with Guinea, Cameroon and Tunisia in the group.16 teams have been pooled into four groups with five teams expected to represent Africa at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Qualifiers will start later this month.
Andrew DanielsAndrew Daniels Managing Director of specialist mobile and web development agency Degree 53 details to SBC readers why in a digitally connected world, UX design has to be at the forefront of all industry development as stakeholders are faced with increased customer retention costs. Degree 53 is a digital agency, specialising in providing solutions to the gambling industry. The company holds a Remote Gambling Software license accredited by the UK Gambling Commission. The Manchester-based agency provides support in development, UX design, prototyping and consultancy.__________________________The gambling industry relies heavily on continuous customer turnaround to maintain profitable business. Gaming operators have vast budgets for marketing and user acquisition to support this initiative. However, another challenge is maintaining customer retention and making sure they return after the first visit. To stay ahead of the competition, operators need to review the user journey of their particular product (website or mobile app), focusing on the user experience (UX) to create brand loyalty and a growing customer base.The principle of UX is offering users the easiest and clearest ways of getting to the desired destination. In gambling, the users’ intention is logging in or registering and placing a bet or playing a game. This means that the journey needs to be as effortless as possible. If the UX is confusing or involves too many steps, consumers are more likely to abandon the product and never return. They are also more likely to seek alternatives from competitors. Below, we highlight some points that operators need to follow to create a great and intuitive UX.Clearly defined user retention strategyOne of the main points gambling operators need to address is their user retention strategy and how the entire website or app supports it. While operators focus heavily on acquisition, it is even more important to consider what will help them keep the customer. They need to view this from a user’s perspective, including thinking through reasons for and expectations when engaging with the product in question, and how to enhance this experience. Having a clear strategy will help define the path from acquiring and then retaining the customer.Simplify the customer journeyTo comply with the online gambling regulations, operators are required to carry out identity checks upon registration as part of the know-your-customer (KYC) process. It often involves lengthy forms, however, in a world where users are so used to a simple social login, it is worth considering how to make it more seamless.The UX during registration can be greatly improved and sped up with a progress indicator in forms, so users are aware of the length, as well as any mandatory details. Adding intuitive entry fields with an option to find the address by entering a postcode and using in-line field validation, can also make this process smoother. If users need to provide proof of identity, adding a camera functionality to take a picture of their document can save several minutes and a great effort for the users, without the need to leave the app. Similarly, allowing users to scan or take a picture of their bank cards instead of entering the number can also be useful. These small but effective UX solutions make it easier for customers to register with the required information and get to the fun part quicker.Guide to the relevant pointUnderstandably, every gambling operator wants its customers to play a game or place a bet using its website or app. Therefore, companies need to help them find relevant activities as quickly as possible. The gaming UX needs to be intuitive and second nature to users for locating the right option. This includes displaying clear calls to action and instructions, easy navigation and consistent design. For mobile apps and websites, operators need to keep in mind the specific design principles for iOS and Android platforms, as well as different screen sizes.User testingOne way of finding out whether the product or an idea is truly working and appeals to customers is testing it with real users before embarking on further product development. This can potentially save substantial amounts of money, time and resources on something that might not be viable. It can be as simple as including basic wireframes and images with touch points that would show the intended user journey or getting users to review the current product. Involving actual customers in testing will show whether the product works in real life and whether they agree with the process. It can be a very insightful activity for product owners and can provide lots of learning opportunities.Put the customer first in all cases Gambling customers tend to have little brand loyalty, as they are likely to choose the operator for the easiest process of engaging with the brand, and UX plays a big role in this. For example, banks are something many are reluctant to change due to the various paperwork and hassle of switching payments to a new account. However, some users decide to do this simply based on unsatisfactory experience with their mobile app offering, which says a lot about UX and its importance in customer retention. If the UX and customer journey don’t align with the business strategy, operators might risk losing their users and subsequently maintaining profit.At Degree 53, we advise our clients to take part in our Product Design Sprints to determine how a digital product could be improved. During our workshop, they come up with a new idea, analyse and test it in just one week. We spend three days reviewing challenges and brainstorming possible solutions, one day creating a prototype, and another day testing it with real users to ensure it meets the client’s business objectives. Product Design Sprints determine how the audience perceives the product and what UX principles need to be adopted to retain customers, without the need for costly development.________________Andrew Daniels – Managing Director- Degree53 Related Articles Degree 53 expands technical and product development teams July 22, 2020 Share Roger Tyrzyk, IDnow: Helping online operators stop the bad guys May 19, 2020 Submit StumbleUpon David Pope: HooYu – Betting needs to stay alert on temporary KYC actions June 23, 2020 Share